Tag Archives: Larry Johnson

Former Knicks forward Larry Johnson greets players at Flushing basketball tournament

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Councilmember Peter Koo sponsored a basketball tournament Saturday morning in Flushing, which highlighted a guest appearance by two-time NBA all-star and former Knicks forward Larry Johnson.

The third annual Bland Basketball Tournament featured matches with young children, high school players and adults. The goal of the tournament is to bring more players and attention to the basketball court of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) James A. Bland Houses, which are in need of repair.

“I think [basketball] is a good sport. It builds team spirit and this is what America is about, working as a team,” Koo said. “As councilmembers we like to help the community, especially what they call ‘the disadvantaged.’”

Koo donated t-shirts and trophies to the tournament and called Madison Square Garden, which owns the team, to have the former NBA Rookie of the Year Johnson make an appearance.

Johnson, who averaged 16.2 points per game and 7.5 rebounds during an 10-year career with the Charlotte Hornets and Knicks, was also the John R. Wooden awardee during the 1990-91 season, which is given to the most outstanding player in college basketball. Johnson met the kids and took pictures, then he did the tip off to start the matches.

“With everything going on in New York we just want to fill the courts,” Johnson said. “It means a lot to me; it warms the heart.”

Because the courts are part of the Bland Houses, the jurisdiction falls under NYCHA and not the Parks Department.

Koo has been in touch with the housing authority to get the park revitalized, repainted and fix the court’s slant. He plans to fund the renewal, but is waiting for NYCHA to examine the cost to upgrade the courts. With a revitalized court residents hope more people from the Bland Houses will use it, instead of going elsewhere.

Craig Kinsey, president of the James A. Bland Resident’s Association, said Koo has been instrumental in organizing the tournament and supporting the court revitalization, and has hope that the courts will be upgraded soon.

“It’s very important when you could put a suit and tie on and still talk to regular folk,” Kinsey said of Koo. “I can always count on him.”




New York Knicks shoot hoops with Jamaica kids

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of Councilmember Leroy Comrie

The New York Knicks schooled Jamaica kids in basketball at a fitness clinic at I.S. 238.

Councilmember Leroy Comrie hosted the event in conjunction with the Knicks on Thursday, February 28. New York legend Larry Johnson came out to participate with the kids and give them pointers on how to succeed on the court.

“Basketball is ingrained in New York’s history, and it’s important to teach youth about healthy living and staying physically active,” said Johnson. “It’s always a pleasure to be a part of an event like this.”

The clinic brought in dozens of eager participants from all over the community, who took part in workshops that focused on basketball skills while emphasizing the importance of sportsmanship and teamwork.

As kids hustled through a variety of drills, a DJ played music to help keep the energy level up. Once the clinic was complete, participants excitedly took pictures and got autographs from Johnson and Comrie.

“This is a great event for [the] youth,” said Comrie. “I’m happy to have teamed up with the Knicks to host this clinic, in hopes of teaching children how to live a healthy and active lifestyle.”